For the last few weeks we have, once again, been focussed on conflict. This time it is in the Middle East, but wars also continue to rage in Ukraine, Sudan, Yemen, Congo and many other parts of the world. Internal and neighbour state conflicts are often caused or exacerbated by the impact of climate change on people’s access to water and food. Meanwhile, the climate crisis escalates as seen in the forest fires, flooding, warming seas and melting glaciers, hurricane destruction and droughts in the past year.
Between 30 Nov–12 Dec 2023 world leaders will meet in Dubai to discuss tackling climate change at COP28. The conference aims to keep alive the goal of limiting long-term global temperature rises to 1.5C, agreed by nearly 200 countries in Paris in 2015. However, the world is on track for about 2.5C of warming by 2100 even with current pledges to tackle emissions. The window for keeping the 1.5C limit in reach is “rapidly narrowing” the UN says. Key aspirations for this year’s COP include:
- fast-tracking the move to clean energy sources, to slash greenhouse gas emissions before 2030
- delivering money for climate action from richer countries to those most affected by climate change
Money is a key issue – in 2009 developed countries committed to giving $100bn (£82bn) to the Global South to help them reduce emissions and prepare for climate change; in 2022 a “loss and damage” fund was agreed to help those countries most affected. Neither target has been achieved.
Militarisation, economic marginalisation and environmental destruction combine to make the world an increasingly insecure place. The UK should shift resources away from the development and deployment of long-range offensive military technologies to technologies which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions or provide health and social benefits and adopt a new approach: sustainable security* or “human security” which recognises the threats arising from poverty, epidemics, inequality and environmental damage.
The UK Climate Change Committee has assessed the UK Government’s progress towards achieving Net Zero saying that there are significant risks the UK will fail to meet its emissions targets and urging the Government to go further. Yet the UK continues to increase funding to Defence (£53bn in 2022-23) compared to Energy Security and Net Zero (£20bn) and has also changed its climate finance definitions as a way to meet its target to send £11.6bn as its contribution to the $100bn target. Britain has one of the world’s largest military budgets, allows the export of weapons to governments with very poor human rights records and is one of only nine nuclear armed nations. The military contributes to high consumption of petroleum fuels and associated emissions, not included in the country’s assessment of contribution to global warming.
Women in Black in London stand in solidarity with all those affected by militarisation, economic marginalisation and environmental destruction and urges the UK Government to develop a new approach to security.
In the short term Britain should re-establish a lead role in the drive towards Net Zero and ensure its contributions towards the countries most affected by climate change are on target.
Women in Black hold vigils every Wednesday between 6-7 pm at the Edith Cavell Statue, opposite the door of the National Portrait Gallery, St.Martin’s Place, London WC2. Our vigils are silent, women-only and if possible we wear black. We welcome all women who support our call for an end to militarism and war.Contact us: Twiter @WIB_London FB @womeninblack.london http://london.womeninblack.org/
Donations for leaflets most welcome November/December 2023